The FEZtival of Trees has grown into the premier holiday event in Central Maine. It not only provides a wonderful event for families throughout the region, but generates funds to support the good work that is done by the Shriners.

With the deterioration of the façade of the Kora Shrine Center, the Kora Building trustees made a decision four years ago to renovate, preserve and protect the building.

And with the help of the FEZtival of Trees, funds were raised in order to help with the necessary renovation work.

Barry Gates, president of the Kora Shrine Center Foundation, explained why these renovations are necessary.

“Our forefathers built this magnificent building over 100 years ago. It is now our responsibility to make sure it lives in the heart of the city for at least another 100 years.”

In March 2011, Building Envelope Consultants were engaged to do a forensic inspection. The purpose of this inspection was an attempt to determine the causes associated with the fractures in the terra cotta elements surrounding the window assemblies on the front of the building.


“The inspection revealed over-stressed clay bricks and terra cotta above and around the window units. Steel columns installed were ineffectively picking up all the dead loads, leaving the bricks and terra cotta to pick up loads which contribute to failures. It also found moisture damage in several locations adjacent to the terra cotta features.”

Gates described the primary goal of the renovation.

Where needed, load-bearing coils were to be inserted into joints between the bricks to pick up the load.

In 2013 the lower portion of the building was completed by Joseph Gnazzo Company from Union, Connecticut. As well as being low bidder, they were chosen for the project as they have been in the forefront of combining old-world craftsmanship with the latest in technology to bring the best in exterior structural restoration.

“On May 12 of this year, the Gnazzo Company returned,” said Gates, “working on the middle and upper part of the building. Renovation continued throughout the summer and the Shrine Center received dedicated workmanship from the Gnazzo team, who showed commitment and respect to this historical building.”


Kora Building trustees are extremely happy to announce that the project is complete and are very pleased with the great job the contractor has done.

“This historic building is now looking as it did when it was built over 100 years ago. The project came in on budget and one year ahead of schedule.”

Many a passerby, as well as members of the Kora Shrine have commented on how great the completed project looks.

There are many other building projects that need to be addressed.

“The FEZtival of Trees and the circus have played a big role in helping to fund these renovations, but more is needed. A 501(c)(3) corporation, Kora Shrine Center Foundation was formed to raise money to complete this necessary work in order to preserve one of Lewiston’s treasures.”

The mission also aims to maintain the significant artwork for the enjoyment of all Shriners and for the greater community as a cultural and artistic event place.

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